Welcome, friends, to a Sunday edition of the GDB as we get ourselves set for a good old-fashioned Northwest Division battle between the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche.
What a difference a week can make. Six days ago, the Oilers kicked off their road trip with a 4-3 win in Detroit which had everyone feeling pretty good around here. Sure, the game was closer than we would have liked but a win is a win, right? It was the kind of game where the Oilers were able to weather their mistakes and still manage to come out on top. That resilience faded along the way and here we are a week later, hoping that our boys can stop the bleeding after dropping three in a row. That’s not to say that they played terribly in all three of those losses, I actually thought the game against Washington could have gone either way, but by the time they reached Florida, the boys let their compete level drop and the wheels fell off from there. Here’s hoping that a few days off back at home was enough to recharge the batteries because they looked tired by the end of that road trip.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Avalanche have lost their last five games and have been giving up a ton of goals (25) in the process so I’m hopeful that this is the matchup that the Oilers need to get back on track. Now, I understand the Oilers take their role as slump busters very seriously which is always a concern in situations like this but just hear me out for a second. Since starting the season with a 6-1-2 record, the Avalanche have stumbled through their next seven games at 1-5-1 despite getting all kinds of offence from their first line. If the Oilers can manage to shut down the Avs’ first line, take advantage of the weaker line matchups down the roster, and stay out of the penalty box (Colorado’s power play has been lethal of late), they’ll put themselves in a good spot to end their losing streak and take two big points from a team that’s currently chasing them in the standings (Oilers have a tiebreaker).
Over their last six meetings, the Oilers are sporting a tidy 5-0-1 record against the Avalanche and that’s a trend that I’d love to see continue today.
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||51.83||46.85|
Numbers courtesy of Corsica (fancies at 5×5)
The lines listed above are what the Oilers ran with at practice yesterday but there’s been no indication yet whether or not these will stick this way for tonight’s game. With Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto getting sent down to Bakersfield yesterday, we’ll have to wait and see how this group performs together for a while.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
(Friday’s) loss to the Winnipeg Jets was very tough. “Too many mistakes and turnovers with the puck led to chances against,” said coach Jared Bednar after the game. “All those odd man rushes and scoring chances against are mostly on us.”
Coach went on to say that the Jets did a good job of hounding his players up the boards and took advantage of failed breakouts. “We didn’t play our two-on-one’s very well.” For a team that had a lot of practice time this past week, this isn’t a good sign.
Bednar was not inclined to blame systems breakdowns for the loss. “Our defending commitment was great; held them to 24 shots, didn’t give them any rush opportunities. But those turnovers can really come back at you, especially when you play a team that shoots the way they do.”
Special teams were also an area where the Avs struggled. The team went 0/4 on the power play, with only four shots on net and with most of the attempts from the outside. The Jets, however, scored twice on four chances with the extra man. They also had four shots on net in three fewer minutes on the power play.
The Avalanche play the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. That’s a winnable game, right?
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers return home from their road trip to an excited Rogers Place crowd that powers them to a 3-2 victory.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Wanting to put a show in front of the hometown crowd and end this pesky three-game losing streak, Connor McDavid spins some magic every single time he’s on the ice and finishes the game with yet another two-point night. Casual day at the office for the captain.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Just this morning, Matt Duchene called Joe Sakic to ask if he could come back to Colorado. Joe laughed and laughed before reminding him to make sure to pay back Eugene Melnyk for any day-to-day expenses.
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 11/11/2018 – 12:00 pm MT